Let me just get this out of the way up front:
I’m swimming in the thick of it today.
- Our orange-hued, dickwad-in-chief predictably assassinated his way into a global testosterone-infused pissing match over the past week which, at best, kept a large portion of the world sleepless with anxiety over the impending brink of World War III, and at worst, might still get a whole lot of people killed.
- I’m a 40-something woman experiencing a wicked case of PMS.
- I made the mistake of checking FB before bed last night.
So yeah, buckle up guys.
I’ll start at “checking FB before bed…”
A friend had composed a thought which appeared in my newsfeed amidst the flurry of breaking news alerts carrying words like “ballistic missiles” and “targeted at US troops.” His thought was not dissimilar to one Obama had expressed a few weeks ago. A postulation which, I can’t deny, I’ve been thinking more intensely than ever.
“We’re once again witnessing why women should rule the world.”
On its face and in this context, this really shouldn’t be controversial.
I exhaled a giant sigh of agreement and clicked an easy “like” along with a few dozen of my closest acquaintances.
Then my eye fell to the comments below. Again, I know better. Especially before bed.
Not surprisingly, the act of looking lead to a moment when I physically recoiled trying to absorb the punch of a comment under the main post, which read simply,
“ *certain women.”
The more I stared at it, the more angry I became, though I couldn’t immediately explain why. I wanted to answer with so many shades of what I was feeling, from “DUH!” to “Oh really? What an excellent point, GUY.” to other short strings of thought that included language far less diplomatic or family friendly.
Instead, I took a deep breath and answered with a calm, “Can we just drop the unnecessary qualifier and agree with the statement as it is? Tonight?”
And then, in a valiant act of self preservation, I turned off my phone and went to bed.
In the morning I woke to discover the responses had gotten (predictably) more frustrating (seriously, woman, you know FB is no better first thing in the morning). Other people — men and women — felt the need to point out in punching staccato notes, one single woman at a time, examples of women who should not be in charge. Apart from the stupidly predictable Hillary bashing, there was one, “How about Margaret Thatcher?” followed by an “Except for: Kellianne Conway, Sarah Palin, Nikki Haley….”
One person took the time to note, “And the new president of Bolivia — a woman — walked into parliament carrying a gun and a Bible.”
Let’s stop to unpack this last comment for a second, shall we?
IF this was actually a rational point (and to be honest I’m not even sure what the point was), wouldn’t it be rational to point out that the advent of Hitler — a man — walking into Germany with some gas chambers and a genocide should have been the start of a massive tsunami of NOT MEN in charge?
Here’s the thing:
It’s simply not a rational response to point out a tiny handful of women — by name — who had questionable or even malevolent intentions whenever someone suggests that just maybe it’s time that we try something other than endless, testosterone charged, war-mongering, greed-driven patriarchy.
If you think for a moment that it is a rational response to name an example of a single woman as valid argument for why more women shouldn’t be in charge, then perhaps we should compile a list of every single man who has had ever had questionable or malevolent intentions, and bring out that list every time any man runs for any office. Would it be any more rational to use that list as a reason why men shouldn’t be in charge?
And incidentally: CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE THE LENGTH OF THAT LIST???
So what is it? Where does this instinct come from to qualify and cut-up the idea that “women should rule the world.” Why the need to call out and nit-pick a minuscule list of individual women as reasons why billions of human beings — literally more than half of humanity — should be ruthlessly questioned until they are ultimately disqualified under the weight of our wicked judgments before ever getting near positions of power?
And here’s another crazy part: I will admit that even I have made similar qualifying comments.
In the past.
The patriarchy has woven its thread into the very fabric of our souls and it’s hard to even know where to extricate these fibers when the needle cuts that deep.
I’ve lived long enough to watch the programming of my own youth change flavors with time. I now see the subliminally delivered messages which my entire generation took deeply our cores. We accepted them. We made them our own. We laughed with the joke without even seeing at whose expense it was told. Honestly I don’t believe the story-tellers of my youth meant any ill-intent. It was just how it was done. FOREVER.
It took huge, seismic events to uncover the depths to which I’d accepted a women’s place of lesser value and worth in society. You know the ones.
But I’m over it.
Those of us fighting for equality aren’t under any illusions that all women are perfect. Mansplaining this obvious fact at us accomplishes nothing. Unless your goal is to sound like an ass.
Bottom line is: it’s long, long past time to try something different. And there’s reason to invite the difference. Testosterone and estrogen in fact act differently in our brains. We inherently understand that women and men approach problem solving and multi tasking differently. Might it not be interesting to at least give women a chance to have an equal share of the power and see what happens?
To continue to elect the majority of men into positions of power and expect different results is the actual definition of insanity.
One final reconciliation and point about generalizations. Thankfully, since I didn’t respond to the early comment on FB with my emotional, profanity laced initial reaction, the door remained open to conversation. And the snap judgement I had made about the man who left that comment was able to be transformed through a back and forth conversation in which we were able to find common ground. Which is helpful if you want to build progress.
Because the flip side to putting women in power is not to hate on men. We need to evolve side by side or we risk a pendulum swing just as destructive as the side we’ve been on since, well, the dawn of civilization. Education, constructive criticism, compassion. Dialogue.
Wouldn’t that be a more balanced approach to a paradigm shift?
Can you imagine what it could feel like to build an army of equals based on our common ground, maximizing the benefits of our different perspectives and fueled by mutual respect?